Bail Is Revoked in Slaying After Threat to Prosecutor

Times Staff Writer

A $100,000 bail bond posted for a Mission Hills man charged with shooting his mother and aunt to death in their car last November was revoked Wednesday because of a death threat mailed to the home of the prosecutor in the case.

San Fernando Municipal Court Judge Michael S. Luros revoked bail for Charles (Carlos) de la Cuesta, 28, after an emotional two-hour bail assessment hearing. Prosectors called the hearing after Deputy Dist. Atty. Pamela Springer, who is prosecuting the case, received an anonymous letter threatening her life if she did not drop charges in the case.

De la Cuesta was charged in April with murdering his 61-year-old mother, Angie Hernandez, and his 52-year-old aunt, Mary Gomez, early on the morning of Nov. 8 as the two women sat in their car on a Pacoima street.

Family Posted Bond

He was released May 3 after family members, who insist De la Cuesta is innocent, posted the bond. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 28 in San Fernando Municipal Court.

According to Deputy Dist. Atty. John Spillane, who presented the arguments for bail revocation, the typewritten letter was sent "on behalf of the De la Cuesta family" and warned Springer she would face "a world of hurt" if she did not drop the case.

"We know everything about you, where you live, your birth date, everything," the letter reportedly said. "I suggest you play ball with us or face the consequences of life, that is your life."

Spillane called it "extremely rare" for district attorneys to receive threats, particularly at their home.

"We treat this sort of thing very seriously," Spillane said. "We are looking at a threat to a member of the judicial system. She is not listed in any phone book. It's not easy to find out where she lives. The sender would have had to put a lot of effort into locating her home address."

Uncertainty as to Sender

During the hearing, defense attorneys for De la Cuesta, whose relatives filled the courtroom, argued that anyone could have sent the letter, including witnesses who might like to see the defendant put back in jail.

"There is no signature," defense attorney Martin Green said. "There are no fingerprints. There is no proof that could possibly connect this letter to my client or his family . . . To put him in jail based on this type of evidence really boggles my mind."

Defense attorney Barry Hammond said afterward that the bail hearing was "all trumped up . . . Nobody in this family sent that letter. Nobody from that family has the slightest idea who would have sent that letter."

According to testimony at the hearing, detectives searched both De la Cuesta's Mission Hills home and his Los Angeles pool-plastering business for clues that would link De la Cuesta to the letter. Spillane offered no evidence from those searches at the hearing and said only that the matter remained under investigation.

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